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Ammunition, (aka Ammo), is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war (from the Latin munire, to provide), but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery. The collective term for all types of ammunition is munitions. In the widest sense of the word it covers anything that can be used in combat that includes bombs, missiles, warheads, and mines (landmines, naval mines, and anti-personnel mines) – that munitions factories manufacture. The purpose of ammunition is predominantly to project force against a selected target. However, the nature of ammunition use also includes delivery or combat supporting munitions such as pyrotechnic or incendiary compounds. Since the design of the cartridge, the meaning has been transferred to the assembly of a projectile and its propellant in a single package.
The subject of ammunition is a complex one which covers application of fire to targets, general use of weapons by personnel, explosives and propellants, cartridge systems, high explosive projectiles (HE), warheads, shaped charge forms of attack on armour and aircraft, carrier projectiles, fuzes, mortar ammunition, small arms ammunition, grenades, mines, pyrotechnics, improved conventional munitions, and terminally guided munition.
The design of the ammunition is determined by its purpose; anti-personnel ammunition is often designed to break up or tumble inside the target,in order to maximize the damage done. Anti-personnel shells contain shrapnel and are designed to explode in mid-air, so its fragments will spread over a large area. Armor-piercing ammunition tends to be hard, sharp, and narrow, often with lubrication. Incendiary projectiles include a material such as white phosphorus which burns fiercely. Tracer ammunition emits light as it travels, allowing the gunner to see the path of bullets in flight while using a machine gun.
Popular types of military rifle and machine gun ammunition include the 5.45 mm, 5.56 mm, and 7.62 mm. Main battle tanks use KE-penetrators to combat other MBTs and armoured fighting vehicles, and HE-Frag (High Explosive-Fragmentation) for soft targets such as infantry.
The spelling fuze is used for artillery ammunition by militaries which use the English language, to differentiate it from fuses, which are circuit breakers or explosive detonators.
Common artillery fuzes include point detonating, delay, time, and proximity (variable time). Point detonating fuzes detonate upon contact with the ground. Delay fuzes are designed to penetrate a short distance before detonating. Time fuzes, as the name implies, detonate a certain time after being fired in order to achieve an air burst above the target. Time fuzes are set to the tenth of a second. Proximity or variable time fuzes contain a simple radio transceiver activated a set time after firing to detonate the projectile when the signal reflected from the ground reaches a certain strength, designed to be 7 meters above the ground. Fuzes are usually armed by the rotation of the projectile imparted by the rifling in the tube, and usually arm after a few hundred rotations.
An ammunition dump, ammunition compound, ammunition depot, bomb dump , ammunition supply point (ASP) or ammo dump, is a military storage facility for live ammunition and explosives.
The storage of live ammunition and explosives is inherently hazardous. There is the potential for accidents in unloading, packing and transfer; the threat of theft, misuse or sabotage; and, if neglected, the near-certainty that poorly stored explosives will degrade and become shock-sensitive over time.
Ammo in FirearmsEdit
Ammunition for infantry refers to the ammunition carried by a typical foot (infantry) soldier. Someone serving in the infantry generally carries, in pouches, bandoliers, etc., one hundred rounds of small-arms ammunition (S.A.A.), and it is usual to supplement this, when an action is imminent, from the regimental reserve (see below). Like any trade, the proper tools are necessary for the task at hand. Infantry need to be provided with the weapons and ammunition to deal with the expected threat, be it another foot soldier, a mounted combatant, armoured vehicle or aircraft.
Every reduction in the caliber (size) of the rifle's ammunition means an increase in the number of rounds carried. One hundred rounds of the Martini-Henry ammunition weighed 10 pounds 10 ounces (4.8 kg); the same weight gives 155 rounds of 0.303 in (7.7 mm) ammunition and at 0.256 in (6.5 mm) the number of rounds is still greater. The regimental reserves were historically carried in six S.A.A. carts and on eight pack animals. The six carts are distributed, one as reserve to the machine gun, three as reserve to the battalion itself, and two as part of the brigade reserve, which consists therefore of eight carts. The brigade reserve communicates directly with the brigade ammunition columns of the artillery (see below). The eight pack animals follow the eight companies of their battalion. These, with two out of the three battalion carts, endeavour to keep close to the firing line, the remaining cart being with the reserve companies. Men also are employed as carriers, and this duty is so onerous that picked men only are detailed. Gallantry displayed in bringing up ammunition is considered indeed to justify special rewards. The amount of S.A.A. in regimental charge is 100 rounds in the possession of each soldier, 2000 to 2200 on each pack animal, and 16,000 to 17,600 in each of four carts, with, in addition, about 4000 rounds with the machine gun and 16,000 more in the fifth cart. Currently, every army of an internationally recognized country (except those who rely on others for defense, such as Andorra) has adopted assault rifles as the main infantry weapon.
In western (NATO) forces, the 7.62mm NATO round has been mostly replaced by the lighter 5.56mm NATO round, which is better suited for automatic fire than the larger round and allows each soldier to carry more ammunition. The larger caliber ammunition is still retained where range and weight of shot is important, e.g. machine guns and sniper rifles.
Other nations, especially forces with former ties to the Soviet Union tend to use rifles related to or developed from the AK-47 with similar sized rounds to the NATO ones. In 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm for assault rifles and 7.62x54mmR for sniper rifles and light machine guns.